Getting a puppy? However, her compatibility with the stud is an important consideration as well. The female dog’s age also can influence her litter size. Assuming that the average litter size is 7 puppies, one female dog and her babies can have as many as 67.000 new puppies in just 6 years. This is in part because of their very small size, which limits their capacity to carry large litters. According to the American Kennel Club, one of the biggest factors in litter size is breed. But, all thing being equal, by the time they mature they will be the same as if the litter was the normal size for this breed; size the pups will be is decided by their genes. Since someone in the thread asked for clarification of what a small litter is and what a large litter is, for discussion purposes lets say a large litter consists of 8 puppies, and a small litter consists of 4 puppies. Little dogs have small litters, medium-sized dogs have mid-size litters, and big dogs tend toward large litters. While litter size can impact many aspects of whelping and raising puppies, it does not actually impact the size of the individual puppies. Small-breed dogs, such as Chihuahuas, do not have room in their bodies for large litters, therefore they tend to produce only two to four puppies per pregnancy. In general, smaller dog breeds have smaller litters because their body size does not allow them to carry large litters. Because the unborn puppies share the nutrition she takes in from her food, she needs an ample diet to properly nourish the puppies. However, a dog’s first litter is generally smaller than subsequent litters. So a small but healthy puppy is by no means guaranteed to become a smaller than average dog. Depending on the breed, a healthy newborn puppy can weigh between 4.2 and 22 ounces (120 to 625 g). Also, large litters tend to produce more stillborn puppies and runts. Choosing a litter bred from a relatively unknown sire may help. Great Pyrenees breeder Catherine de la Cruz warns that large litters can trigger earlier-than-expected whelping, which can be a problem for the puppies' unprepared human grandparents. Managing Females – A Dog's First Litter First time mommas are a handful, mostly because they can't call their mom and ask if this is normal! If the mother's uterus attempts to carry more puppies than she can physically handle, her life and the puppies' lives can be threatened. Research shows older mother dogs have smaller litters than younger canine moms. if a large dog has a small litter (say 3 or 4) it might be that the female dog was not well bred or not exactly healthy It depends on the size of your dog and how well she was bred. In fact, there is more variation in the potential litter size of large dog breeds than small dog breeds. Normally, a litter of purebred pups will all look similar. How do I choose a healthy pup? She has also written more than 200 blog posts, articles, and ebooks on wedding and party planning on behalf of professionals in the field. On the other hand, while larger dog breeds are capable of carrying larger litters, and often do, size alone does not guarantee a large litter. The dam’s health. What kind of dog do you want: big or small, long haired or short haired, pure bred or sweetly mixed? When a single puppy litter occurs, the one puppy that’s in the uterus has access to all the nutrition that comes from the mother, and none of the competition that comes from littermates. With this in mind, if your furry friend came from a single-puppy litter, you'll need to put in a little extra work to … The optimal number of litters a bitch can carry is around 3 to 4 litters, depending on the number and size of the litter, as well as her overall health and recovery process in between pregnancies. This might not lead to much difficulty when it occurs in a large breed, like, say an English Mastiff or a Saint Bernard, but if it occurs in a small breed, there could be significant … Number of Pregnancies – first time pregnancies tend to produce fewer puppies. Talk to the owner. Obviously, a dog that is going into heat once a year will usually have fewer litters than dogs who are going into heat every six months since there will be longer periods between each litter. Smaller dog breeds have fewer pups per litter. Dog litter allows dogs, usually smaller breeds, to use the facilities indoors without a lot of hassle. The runt is the smallest puppy of the litter, but that doesn’t mean it is the most submissive. Obese female dogs tend to have smaller litters than healthy-weight dogs. Puppies learn a whole lot from their littermates in the first couple of months of life, and if they don't have any littermates there's only so much their mom can teach them. Have you located a litter of available pups? Most of the small breeds, notably the toys and terriers usually produce very small litters. A dam in her prime and at the peak of her breeding age will be a dam most likely to have a large litter of healthy pups, and like for like across any given dog breed, the litter of a dam under the age of two or one that is approaching the start of old age is likely to have a smaller litter. Some dogs, especially in small and toy breeds, will go into heat every four or five months. But in the larger breeds there are wide variations in litter size ranging from 1 to 21 and in a some instances they have been larger. She is also an amateur dog trainer. On the other side, some dogs will go into heat every year. There are several factors that contribute to the size of a litter of puppies, not the least of which is the size of the breed of dog. Weigh your puppies twice a day and take them to the veterinarian if they are not gaining weight normally or are losing weight. A dam that is fit and healthy prior to mating and throughout her pregnancy will be able to give her pups the best … In Conclusion A pet parent or breeder can choose their breed, breed them at the optimum time, and feed them highly nutritious meals throughout the year. If she is unhealthy before or during pregnancy, the number of puppies in her litter tends to be smaller. As the male dog ages, the quality and count of his sperm decreases. It is best to feed a pregnant dog only a quality commercial dog food with no supplements. Premature Puppies & Litters — Health, Care, Preterm Birthing & FAQ. Health. A veterinarian can do an ultrasound to estimate the size of the litter so the household can prepare adequately for the new arrivals. Instead, their size can usually be traced back to the health and nutrition of the mother dog before and during her pregnancy. However, any pregnant mom can experience a large litter relative to normal within her breed. Usually, the size of a dog litter is mainly based on the dog’s body size — simply because biologically, bigger bodies are able to carry a larger litter size than smaller bodies. It is particularly common in Scottish Terriers. While 101 dalmatians may be quite a stretch, the size of some dog’s litters can be upwards of 18 puppies. While several of the above factors may not be under the breeder’s control, several other are. Large-breed dogs, such as Great Danes, usually have larger litters, 10 to 12 puppies being common. With artificial insemination, not all of the harvested sperm survives and fewer sperm to fertilize the eggs can result in a smaller litter. CONTENTS toggle all. In its first few weeks, a healthy puppy should gain 5 to 10 percent of its birth weight each day. Payne teaches linguistics classes at both universities on an adjunct basis. (Sorry!) The parents' genes, the puppy's breed, and the mother's health and nutrition determine the puppies' size at birth. The … Breed type also impacts the size of the newborns. Also, dogs who had their first litter at an older age will have smaller litters. What Is the Time Frame a Cat Has Between Litters?→. Of course, you shouldn't judge a dog's temperament on a day they're feeling a bit down. This can lead to a pretty big singleton. The Kennel Spotlight: Litter Size and Singleton, American Kennel Club: A Guide to Breeding Your Dog. There is one circumstance where it's good to buy from a bitch's third overall litter, though. About the Author Amy Jorgensen has ghostwritten more than 100 articles and books on raising and training animals. Single puppy pregnancy tends to occur more in small or miniature breeds. Additionally, nutritionist Russ Kelly found that adding extra protein supplements to a female dog’s diet during pregnancy actually decreases the odds that she will have a large litter. A Norwegian Kennel Clu b study conducted in 2006 and 2007 bears this out. Indeed, online dog forums are awash with anecdotes from owners who brought home the smallest puppy in the litter, then watched in disbelief as they reached the highest weight ranges for their breed. American Kennel Club; "Breeder's Handbook: Variables That Influence Litter Size; Bretaigne Jones', Litter Size and Singleton; Dr. Carmen L. Battaglia, White Fire Great Pyrenees; Whelping the Litter; Catherine de la Cruz, Guinness World Records: Largest Litter - Dog. By the time a bitch has had three litters, the breeder will know if her puppies tend to be healthy. VCA Animal Hospitals: Did You Bring Home the Runt of the Litter? Puppies in the same litter may have different fathers. The AKC recommends that females begin breeding during their second heat. However, just because a dog can physiologically mate, does not mean it … Females also commonly produce increasingly larger litters with each pregnancy through their first four years of life. Laura Payne has been freelance writing for several online publications in her free time since 2006. The mother's weight can be a factor. A breeder can boost the mom’s health with nutritious food, exercise, and prenatal care. While accurately predicting the size of an expectant mom's litter is difficult, some other factors do contribute. When a female dog is not bred until the age of four years, chances are that her litter size will be smaller than if she had been bred early on. Larger litters are more likely when the male dog is under the age of five years with the potential to produce quality sperm in greater quantities. A larger dog will produce more pups. When a small population of animals becomes cut off from other animals of the same species, health issues begin to rise ... And for an individual litter of puppies with a low (for the breed) COI. The puppies will be most likely bigger at birth and might be fatter. Inbred dogs and their health problems. Unusually small puppies are not a result of large litters. Small-breed puppies are typically several inches smaller than large-breed puppies, regardless of the number of dogs in the litter. Another consideration for litter size is the method of fertilization. Breeding dogs after the age of 7 years increases the chances of having a single puppy litter. I think I do need to go back and re-ask about your views in regard to large vs small litters and competition for food. American Kennel Club; The Care and Feeding of the Breeding Bitch Part One; Kathleen Hefner. Dog litter sizes vary from one puppy to more than a dozen newborns. Healthy and trim female dogs are more likely to have larger litters than those that are overweight. On the other hand, while larger dog breeds are capable of carrying larger litters, and often do, size alone does not guarantee a large litter. I have a very nosy neighbor who has a puppy from the same litter as I do. When the dog is physically healthy and looks happy you can try to analyze their temperament as soon as you make contact. Copyright 2021 Leaf Group Ltd. / Leaf Group Media, All Rights Reserved. With so many neonatal puppies vying for nutrition, those in the center of the womb often do not get sufficient nourishment, which can cause them to be born small or to die. Even with the best knowledge and scheduling, you can end up with a small litter…or even a singleton…but having an understanding can also increase your odds of a healthy litter; both in size and overall health of your puppies. It also is possible for a dog to give birth to just one puppy, called a singleton. You can have unhealthy puppies in a large litter as well. Unusually small puppies are not a result of large litters. Mothers health – The health condition of a female pup is important when it comes to litter size. Without sufficient food, the puppies will not reach appropriate size and may suffer health problems. not at all.. all dogs have different sizes of litters, usually small dogs have smaller litters, while as a large dog will have large litters. Dogs have a peak litter size between the age of 3 and 7 years, after which the number of puppies in a litter decreases. On the other hand, theoretically speaking, males can sire a limitless number of litters. According to veterinarian Kathleen Hefner, writing for the American Kennel Club, most puppies who die soon after birth were probably born from malnourished mothers. Things that didn’t matter. These sperm are better able to reach and penetrate the female’s eggs. 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